Don Arden was not just the father-in-law of Ozzy Osbourne, and father of Sharon Osbourne. He was the original Suge Knight of the (UK) rock industry. Larger than life, and tougher than leather, the famous British music mogul died at the age of 81 earlier this week. The Daily Mail offers up a fitting obit, which includes:
By paying Radio Caroline to play [his client, the Small Faces], and giving a bit more to the guys on the music papers who compiled the record charts, he got them to Number One.
It was totally corrupt, bribery at its crudest, but it worked brilliantly. Of course, when the Small Faces later questioned their record royalties it took them ten years in legal wrangling to get the money they were due out of Arden. In that sense they might have been luckier than some.
Most famously, impresario Robert Stigwood found out the hard way not to mess around with Arden. Having heard that Stigwood had shown an interest in the Small Faces, Arden, along with three hoods, turned up at his office one afternoon. There the hoods lifted Stigwood bodily out of his chair and dangled him from his fourth-floor balcony window by the ankles. Stigwood got the message.